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December 16, 2017
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Supply chain chiefs eye omnichannel expansion

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More than half of the respondents to a global survey of chief supply chain officers said they're considering expanding their omnichannel capabilities soon.

A new survey finds more evidence that omnichannel commerce remains a hot topic with supply chain executives. The 2013 Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Strategy Report from the U.K.-based research and publishing firm eyefortransport (EFT) found that 58 percent of respondents plan to either expand or investigate expanding their omnichannel capabilities within the next 12 months. EFT canvassed 319 supply chain executives worldwide in August 2013 for the study.

Customer demand for multiple delivery options and purchasing choices is part and parcel of omnichannel commerce, and that means companies will need to configure their distribution and order fulfillment models and supply chain strategies accordingly. When asked about their greatest concern with omnichannel expansion, 26 percent of respondents cited integration of information technology (IT) systems among multiple channels. This was most likely prompted by concerns about gaining full visibility, especially with suppliers and solutions providers, the report said. Their second biggest concern was customer satisfaction, named by 21 percent, and sales and operations planning (S&OP), named by 18 percent. Other concerns included managing inventory levels, last-mile delivery, consolidating distribution networks, and changing relationships with suppliers.

The study also found that improving internal efficiency remains a top priority for supply chain chiefs. When asked to identify the most effective measures for cutting supply chain costs, 74 percent of the respondents said improving internal efficiencies. Renegotiating existing transport contracts and improved forecasting, each cited by 45 percent of the respondents, tied for second place.

Sustainability continues to preoccupy supply chain executives. More than 70 percent of respondents said that subject was either important or fairly important to their businesses. When asked about barriers to achieving greater supply chain sustainability, 18 percent cited lack of resources; 17 percent said implementation costs, and 15 percent cited a lack of shared values with supply chain partners.

The survey additionally explored the role of big data in supply chains. When asked in what areas of the supply chain big data could yield the greatest return on investment, 26 percent of respondents cited increased visibility. Another 23 percent said enhancement of demand planning capabilities, and 18 percent said it would be most valuable in the area of product- and market-segmentation strategies.

The annual study also covered such topics as emerging markets, contingency planning, collaboration, outsourcing relationships, and more.

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